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Louisville knocks off No. 9 Marquette in Big East quarters

Mar 9, 2012 - 5:52 AM New York, NY (Sports Network) - Louisville upset No. 9 Marquette, 84-71, in Thursday's Big East Tournament quarterfinals behind a balanced effort from Peyton Siva.

Siva finished with 18 points, a career-high eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Kyle Kuric had a team-high 20 points and Chane Behanan chipped in 12 and eight rebounds.

The seventh-seeded Cardinals (24-9), who downed Seton Hall on Wednesday, ousted Marquette in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. They will play No. 23 Notre Dame in Friday's semifinals.

"I thought the guys did a tremendous job of pushing the pace tonight, getting a lot of easy baskets for us," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. "We did a really good job of offensively attacking the whole night. Real proud of the guys."

The Golden Eagles (25-7), seeded second, hadn't played since March 3 after earning their first-ever double bye in the Big East Tournament.

Darius Johnson-Odom scored a game-high 23 points in defeat while Jamil Wilson added 13 and eight rebounds. Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder had 10 points and 12 rebounds but shot just 4-of-13 from the field.

"We were here last year, the same spot against Louisville, and I thought everybody was mentally focused. We were ready," said Johnson-Odom. "We didn't bring enough energy in the first half, and they just took us apart."

The Cardinals never trailed and led by as many as 15 late in the second half.

They grabbed a 21-6 advantage to start and were up 32-21 before Marquette unleashed a 12-2 run

Wilson had four points while Johnson-Odom and Crowder also scored during the push, which pulled the Golden Eagles within one, 34-33.

Louisville responded, closing the first half with a 16-7 burst behind five points from Kuric to lead by double digits, 50-40, at the break.

The Golden Eagles outscored Louisville 10-4 to open the second half, cutting their deficit to four, 54-50, on Vander Blue's layup, but they would get no closer.

A three-pointer from Kuric and two free throws from Russ Smith quickly pushed the Louisville advantage to nine and it surpassed double-digits, 65-54, minutes later on a pair of Kuric foul shots.

The Cardinals cruised from there, as four straight free throws from Russ Smith made it 79-64 in the closing minutes, marking the largest lead of the game.

Game Notes

Louisville leads the all-time series, 41-26...The Cardinals downed Seton Hall, 61-55, in Wednesday's second-round matchup...Marquette had won its first game of the Big East Tournament in each of the previous five years.